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Dresden Station helps prevent ice damage on Kankakee River

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – Dresden Generating Station continues to provide warm water to be put into the Kankakee River to help reduce the risk of ice jams.

The Will County Emergency Management Agency is siphoning the water from the station’s cooling pond to lower the risk of ice jams forming on the Kankakee River. Will County began siphoning the water Jan. 11 and will continue the process through Jan. 25.

“During the recent cold weather, a significant amount of ice has developed along many portions of the river,” said Harold Damron, EMA director, in a news release. “This icing can form ice jams, which can cause serious flooding and damage to structures on the banks of the river. The warm water from Dresden’s pond helps to break up the ice and move it down the river.”

Because weather conditions are subject to change quickly, Damron advises people not to venture out on the ice-covered river.

The 70-degree water is siphoned from the cooling pond through a trio of 3-foot diameter pipes located at the northeastern corner of the pond. The pipes run from the bottom of the pond, over the dike, under Cottage Road and into the Kankakee River. The siphon lines are operated by the Will County Emergency Management Agency.

The cooling pond water is warm because it flows through pipes in the facility’s condenser. The condenser, which is part of the non-nuclear side of the plant, turns the steam that powers the generator into water.

“We are committed to protecting the environment and helping our neighbors,” said Shane Marik, Dresden Station site vice president, in the release. “If the warm water in our cooling pond can prevent flooding and ice jams in the river, we’re more than happy to assist.”

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency allows the siphon lines to be operated twice a season for 14-day intervals each.

Dresden has provided warm water from its cooling pond to help alleviate ice jams on the river for more than a decade. This is the first time this winter that the siphon lines have been placed in service.

Dresden Generating Station’s two nuclear energy units can produce more than 1,800 megawatts at full power – enough carbon-free electricity to power more than 1.2 million homes.

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